NEW YORK - What’s a playoff game at Yankee Stadium without a little controversy? Or a big one?
No fan interference this time, but we had a situation here that brought manager Buck Showalter out of the dugout and led umpires to huddle for a review.
Nate McLouth sent a long fly ball to right field with two outs in the sixth inning that appeared to hook foul by maybe an inch, landing in the second deck of seats, but a close-up replay may have indicated that the ball changed trajectory after nicking the pole. That seems to be the general consensus in the press box, for what that’s worth.
The umpires, led by crew chief Brian Gorman, stuck with their original call after a quick review - it took longer for Mike Everitt to put his mask back on behind the plate - again bringing Showalter onto the field for a brief discussion.
McLouth stayed in the box and struck out swinging to end the inning, which didn’t do much to alter Showalter’s mood.
It only got worse. Ichiro Suzuki doubled in the bottom of the sixth to score Derek Jeter, who walked with one out.
Yankees 2, Orioles 0.
Left-hander Troy Patton is warming in the Orioles’ bullpen as pitching coach Rick Adair visits the mound.
A two-run deficit with CC Sabathia on the mound presents a mega-challenge for the Orioles, who have overcome adversity all year.
Can they do it one more time?
Update: Curtis Granderson homered into the second deck in right field off Patton in the bottom of the seventh to increase New York’s lead to 3-0.
The Orioles are stuck on one hit - McLouth’s single leading off the fourth.
J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and Mark Reynolds are a combined 14-for-98 (.143) in the Division Series. Jim Thome, not playing today, is 1-for-12.
That’s all you need to know. The Orioles’ pitching has been exceptional. The bats never arrived from Arlington.
Update II: The Orioles finally broke through against Sabathia, scoring once in the eighth and loading the bases with one out. But McLouth struck out and Hardy bounced to short, stranding three runners and allowing the Yankees to hold a 3-1 lead.
Wieters led off the inning with a single and Manny Machado walked. Lew Ford grounded a single into left field with one out to score Wieters, and Robert Andino reached on an infield hit to load the bases.
The Orioles are 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position and have stranded four. They’re down to their last three outs unless they rally.